No, it’s not the weekend, but it is the off-season, so anything goes, right? Starting off a week with a Free Blog Monday, a first, but probably not the last. It’s your opportunity to opine, divert the discussion, throw in your two cents and generally steer the conversation.
I’ll get us started.
- The Royals and Pirates didn’t go out and sign any players like Victor Martinez. They acquired their biggest guns through the draft or through trades. Will the Astros follow that example?
- Despite the high interest of in Tim Bogar by many teams, the Astros apparently were not interested in talking to him again in its pursuit of a new manager. Last week, the Diamondbacks sought and received permission from the Rangers to interview the Texas interim manager. Maybe the Rangers haven’t been bowled over by him either.
- If the past two off-seasons have been any indication, Jeff Luhnow won’t be shopping for a top tier closer. Two years ago, he signed Jose Veras, who had saved only five games before being awarded the Astros’ job. Last year, Luhnow bet on Jesse Crain — and lost — with that meager $3.25 million gamble. Don’t look for a Jonathan Papelbon or Huston Street type. Look for a younger pitcher who has succeeded in late innings, but not necessarily in the closer’s role. Or expect another round of spreading the risk by adding multiple pitchers to compete. All while the organization waits on its up-and-coming prospects to settle the issue in the near term.
- Perhaps someone has already noted this: Three of the four managers of the Championship Series teams were catchers. The only one who wasn’t — Clint Hurdle — actually spent a little time behind the plate in the majors, but his bench coach (Jeff Banister) was a catcher during his minor league career. Didn’t I hear that A.J. Hinch was a catcher? Just sayin’.
- Dave Trembley, Bo Porter, John Mallee, OKC pitching coach Steve Webber and a few others already have plans for 2015. Does the Astros’ slow-motion move to add to its coaching staff mean they are considering coaches who are in the playoffs? Or just that they are taking their time to do the due diligence?
- The Astros are apparently looking to include a former manager on the coaching staff, which means that Hinch will likely have an experienced hand as bench coach. Former KC manager Trey Hillman is apparently one of those candidates.
- Moreover, what will become of Adam Everett, Doug Brocail and Tony DeFrancesco?
- For your discussion: Do the Astros actually have an ace in the rotation? Or are Collin McHugh, Dallas Keuchel and Scott Feldman merely two-through-four guys?